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NAIDnotes Archives

Thursday December 18, 2014

Guilt by association: Betraying ourselves and customer confidence

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

In any service industry, there is the temptation to embellish, a.k.a., “marketing puffery.” To some degree, I think we forgive it because it is easy for customers to recognize. When a service provider says they are “the most trusted name in the secure destruction industry,” potential clients understand what this means and, as a result, there is little resentment.

There’s a far more dangerous form of embellishment, however, the kind of embellishment where the service provider is trying to capitalize on customer ignorance. The customer needs to be wary of these service providers because such claims speak to the character of that service provider. Service providers need to steer clear of such claims because they insult the customer, which can lead to resentment.

These more dangerous embellishments take many forms but the common denominator is that they only work if the customer does not know the truth. If the customer knew the truth, they would almost always feel misled.

In his book, “Powerful Times,” Eamonn Kelly writes that we now live in a time when anything we hope to hide from customers will eventually be made public and cause harm. In a highly competitive market, that process is accelerated. Service providers, who are towing the line, will quickly explain to customers how they are being misled. Suddenly, what appears like a harmless marketing ploy exposes the errant service provider as a fraud. As a result, customer trust is gone. Customers who find out about such misleading claims are right in feeling that way. They should steer wide and far from any service provider trying to fool them into thinking something is what it is not. Luckily, if they want to know the truth, they can contact NAID. We will be happy to set them straight.

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Thursday December 4, 2014

Vendor selection isn’t difficult but it’s critical to risk management

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Every data protection law in the world holds clients responsible for making sure their third party data processors meet regulatory requirements and security standards. This applies to clients hiring services such as records storage, data destruction, computer recycling and imaging services, among others.

The regulations contain language to make sure clients take this responsibility seriously. 

  • A contract with such service providers wherein the client and service provider clearly delineate the security specification as well as what is necessary for service provider regulatory compliance. Such contracts specifically reference the service provider’s requirements to notify the client in the case of a potential data breach and specify the service provider provides the appropriate staff training.
  • Regulations (and regulators) hold the client fully responsible for the behavior, security and compliance of the service provider.

The thinking, very sensibly, is that a client is going to be appropriately careful when selecting a vendor when the client is ultimately bearing the consequences of their actions. Ironically, the only way to shift some of this liability over to the service provider is by conducting the appropriate due diligence in the first place. The legal requirement to demonstrate a clear selection process based on proper vendor qualifications and agreements is one of the reasons NAID’s certification program has become so popular for customers. Because of NAID’s long history in certification, its extensive, regulatory-based security specifications, and its strong audit regime, it actually does for the client what the client does not have the capability to do themselves. Learn more about the NAID AAA Certification Program at www.naidonline.org/nitl/en/certification.html.

 

 

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Thursday November 13, 2014

Get involved

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

As many of you know, this is the time of year we all start planning for 2015 to make ourselves and our businesses healthier. We start looking back at 2014 and what we could do better and hopefully implement new things personally and professionally for 2015. My hope is that you consider getting more involved in NAID, your industry’s trade association.

As a former NAID president, and now a NAID staff member, I have a unique perspective on why it’s important to get new industry professionals involved in NAID each year. As a former board member, I served with some very knowledgeable and bright individuals who shared one common goal: advance the secure destruction industry and NAID. There is a strong correlation between advancing the industry, NAID and organizations in our industry. For example, if you look at the current NAID Board of Directors, they are all successful companies that vary in size, demographic, geography, services provided, age, and, most of all, perspectives. It’s important to have diverse representation on NAID committees and boards because those different perspectives, backgrounds, and opinions can contribute to a smarter and healthier industry. That’s why NAID has 2,000 member locations worldwide and counting.

I discuss industry and association issues with many of you regularly and one question always comes up: “Ray, I want to get involved more with NAID and help shape the association and industry and grow my business. What’s the best way to get involved? ”

If you want to get involved with NAID but you don’t know how, here are some ways to do so:

  • Volunteer and participate on one of the several NAID committees like the public relations or conference committees.
  • Join a monthly NAID Board of Directors conference call. These are open to all members. See what’s being discussed to stay in tune with the industry.
  • Attend one of the two face-to-face NAID board meetings a year. If you are already attending the annual conference, it would be easy to join the meeting at the end. It’s open to any NAID member.
  • If you are already part of a committee, volunteer to be the chairperson of the committee. This will help you become a NAID board member in the future.
  • Run for a NAID Board of Directors position.
  • Call me at 602-788-6243, ext. 2012, and we can discuss the best ways to get involved that make sense for you and your company.

In the next few weeks, you will see an announcement about the NAID nomination process beginning. This is an important time of year for our association. If you have ever thought of being part of the board or you know of an industry professional that has, please do not hesitate to nominate yourself or someone else. NAID is as good as all of us make it.

I am Ray Barry and I approve this message.

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Thursday October 30, 2014

Attitude is the key

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

The most important quality that top sales professionals and business owners possess is, without a doubt, a positive attitude.

I have never met a great sales professional that had a negative attitude. In sales, as in life, attitude is a major factor in your successes and failures. Your attitude about yourself, your company, your service, and others will influence your sales. The first hurdle a sales professional must overcome is believing that he or she can and will achieve whatever he or she sets his or her mind to.

High self-efficacy leads to more success.

Think about it, when was the last time that you went into a sales call with a negative attitude and won the business? Having a negative attitude makes you a less likeable and approachable salesperson. Negative thoughts have a way of taking over and bringing about a negative outcome. As Earl Nightingale, author of “The Strangest Secret,” said, “You become what you think about all day long.” This is evident whether it’s negative or positive thoughts. So, if this is true, why waste precious time with negative thoughts?

A proper attitude can help you overcome some of the biggest sales challenges. That said, how do you maintain a positive attitude when the market is difficult? Sure, it’s easy to be positive when you’re on a roll and things are going well. But true sales professionals maintain positive attitudes despite the setbacks. They stay away from negative thoughts and people. Great sales professionals know that maintaining positive attitudes will help them overcome adversity and achieve their goals.

Here are simple tips for keeping a positive attitude in difficult times:

  • Think about positive thoughts all the time. Visualize making the sale before the call or meeting.
  • Don’t dwell on losses. You will win some and lose some. Learn from your losses.
  • Think of past accomplishments. You can achieve success by repeating positive behaviors and actions. Read or watch some of your client testimonials to relive these successes.
  • Don’t watch or read the negative local or national news, unless of course, it’s talking about identity theft.
  • Stay away from the Ned and Nelly Negaholics out there. They are contagious. It’s like a virus.
  • Remember that you provide a valuable service to your clients and prospects. This industry is about security and insurance, not just shredding. You are actually helping people protect themselves from identity theft.
  • Write down your annual goals and review them regularly. You can see your success as the year goes on.
  • The power of giving: Helping people without expectation of getting anything back and without keeping score will do wonders for your attitude.
  • Motivating others helps you stay positive.

Stay positive and open to new ideas. Focus on your goals and you will succeed.

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Thursday October 23, 2014

People buy for their reasons, not yours

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

People buy for their own reasons, not yours. This is a mindset that average sales professionals do not understand. The top sales professionals understand that everyone makes their purchasing decisions based on different motives. No two decision-making processes are exactly alike.

The only way to discover what these buying motives are is to engage the prospects in discussions about them, not you. Just because some things are important to you (e.g., your truck, your bin, your shred size) does not mean it is important to the prospect. So, exactly how can you distinguish what is important to the prospect so you do not assume you automatically know? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have a pre-call plan worksheet to identify key objectives of the conversation?
  • Do you have a list of 10-15 questions you would like to ask every stakeholder on the decision making team?
  • Is your proposal a snapshot and confirmation of this discussion where you uncovered their reasons for purchase?
  • Do you have a way to lead the decision-making process from start to end so it does not come down to lowest price?
  • Who does most of the talking in your sales conversations? The prospect should talk 80 percent of the time so you can find out these motives.
  • Are you able to challenge the prospect when the conversation potentially turns awkward?
  • Is the prospect aware of what the implications could be to their business if sensitive information fell into the wrong hands or they made their decision solely on lowest price?
  • Do you have a strategy to receive as many testimonials as possible and include these as social proof for the decision maker?

If you are the perceived expert for the decision-making team, they will look to you for guidance and suggestions. Keep in mind that most decisions are made emotionally and justified logically though. Engaging the prospect in a dialogue about himself or herself is one of the best ways to connect emotionally. People will also pay a little more to do business with the perceived expert. Time to become that perceived expert in your market.

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Thursday October 2, 2014

Relationships feed the sales funnel

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reminded twice that the networking and partnership techniques taught at Shred School are both valid and valuable when marketing secure destruction services.

Last month I spoke at a large convention of businesses that provide assistance to senior citizens who need varying degrees of care. They help prepare meals, pay bills, get groceries, etc. From everything I saw, it appears to be a thriving business with lots of growth possibilities.

During my presentation about the risks and liabilities related to having access to their clients’ personal information, I asked whether they ever had occasion to help their elderly clients get rid of personal records. As I suspected, they often did. Often, they reported their clients had a lifetime of records in the basement or garage from moving to a retirement community or cleaning house. As such, they made arrangements for destruction.

After that presentation, I wondered how many NAID members sought out these service providers in their market to develop business relationships of some sort. Admittedly, such a relationship is not going to make or break any destruction service, but every little bit helps.  

Then, recently, we learned of yet another incident of records being found abandoned at a self-storage facility. In this case, it happened to be medical records. Self-storage companies are another group of businesses with which NAID members can form mutually beneficial relationships. Their units are full of business records and whether it is destroying abandoned records when they get stuck with them or helping their tenants destroy old records, there is money to be made.

At Shred School, we spend a lot of time on these types of practical, real-world tactics. In one session, we provide a list of more than two dozen categories of companies and people from who qualified leads can readily flow. If these relationships are successfully pursued, the resulting number of leads they generate will feed growth for years without ever making a cold call.

It is the kind of stuff that doesn’t mean all that much individually but, when combined, makes all the difference in the world to your bottom line.

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Thursday September 25, 2014

How to create an incident response plan

By Holly Vandervort, NAID Chief Compliance Officer

One of the more game-changing additions to the NAID AAA Certification Program in 2014 was the requirement for certified companies to develop a written incident response plan for suspected or known security incidents. The NAID Certification Rules Committee developed this criterion in direct response to data protection regulations that require all security incidents to be thoroughly investigated and documented. It is designed to dovetail with the 2012 certification program addition that requires employees to notify management of data breaches; once a security incident is reported management has a legal and ethical responsibility to investigate the occurrence.

To help companies implement an incident response plan, NAID has a developed a Sample Incident Response Plan Form for documenting all incidents and their outcomes. This form includes the following elements:

  • Incident information and descriptions: General information about how the incident was reported, and by whom, as well as where the incident occurred and which clients may be affected.
  • Incident investigation: Description of the incident, the timeline, and notes regarding the occurrence. The investigation should also determine whether confidential material was accessed by unauthorized individuals.
  • Remediation: The actions taken by management as a result of the investigation. This may include notification to clients if a breach is confirmed, as well as steps taken to reduce the likelihood of a reoccurrence, such as retraining employees or revision of policies.

The above elements should also be added to written policies and procedures with specific company practices and policies to follow during the informational, investigative, and remediation stages. Please direct all questions to the certification department at certification@naidonline.org or 602-788-6243.

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Thursday September 18, 2014

He who listens, gets the sale

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

The sales professional who listens the best, wins the sale. It is the most important part of the sales process yet it is the most overlooked sales skill.

Unfortunately, most salespeople would rather talk instead of listening to the client. Salespeople are not trained properly how to listen effectively, nor are they taught that skill in school. As they say here in the South, "God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason." You should listen at least twice as much as you talk. Letting the prospective client talk is a powerful way to build know, like and trust feelings. Prospective clients love the opportunity to talk about themselves and their businesses, not the salesperson. The best perceived communicators are the ones that allow the prospect to do just that.

Here are some tips to help you become a better listener:

  1. Have prepared questions that force you to listen.
  2. Don't interrupt.
  3. Listen to understand.
  4. Take notes. It's a sign of respect.
  5. Ask for clarification.
  6. Think about what is said before commenting.
  7. Limit distractions.
  8. Visualize the situation being described to you.
  9. Be quiet, or shut up (whatever you prefer).

You can learn much more about your customers and prospects if you listen to them. A funny thing happens when you are listening to the prospect: they become clients.

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Friday August 29, 2014

You’re not their friend, you’re their adviser

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

As I write this, I’m at the Los Angeles Shred School workshop. At the front of the room Ray Barry is teaching 35 industry professionals how and when to best submit a proposal for maximum results. It is hard to describe how captivated the audience is. Ray is giving them information they haven’t heard before. Nobody is texting or checking emails. They are riveted.

In this discussion, Ray describes the difference between the pure “relationship-building sales professional” and the sales professional who is respected enough to overcome a prospect’s misconceptions. He explains how the latter is better positioned to close the sale based on qualifications, not price.

I assume everyone has encountered a sales professional at some point in their travels, who obviously knew so much about their industry that they could push back on customers’ misconceptions. In those cases, the sales professional can literally set the customer straight, and do it with enough confidence and knowledge that the customer acts on their advice. This only works when three things are true, however:

  1. The salesperson knows what they’re talking about
  2. The salesperson exudes the confidence necessary to confront the misconception
  3. The salesperson has the prospect’s trust (relationship building)

Now, ask yourself, when you interact with your customers and prospects, do they leave that interaction so impressed by your knowledge and confidence (and credentials, if pertinent) that they would defer to your informed opinion instead of their misconceptions? 

Salesmanship is more than giving the customer what they want; it’s also the ability to convince them of what they need. You’re the expert, not them, right? So act like it.

Of course, customers and prospects are also keenly aware that you have your own motives for your opinions, which is why No. 3 above is so important. It’s more than being a know-it-all; it’s about being trusted and respected. They have to believe you’re honestly looking out for their best interest when providing your opinion. As long as it that is your genuine opinion, it will be communicated that way.

While what I am describing is the holy grail of sales positioning, it is not unrealistic. All that’s necessary is that you commit to being a professional. Being the owner of equipment does not make you a professional. Knowing your customer’s needs better than they know their own and then filling those needs is the key.

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Thursday August 14, 2014

Do you brag or provide proof?

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

We are taught at a young age to not brag about ourselves. I tell my son this all of the time.

Any time we brag about ourselves and our companies, our prospects are unimpressed. But why do 80 percent of sales professionals start each proposal they give to a prospect with a canned template bragging about their company? Then, they blabber on and on about how they are the greatest, locally owned, smallest, largest, best looking, something company. Guess what? As my good friend Tom Adams says all the time, “they don’t care about our IT!”

Bragging is not believable and it turns the probable purchaser off. Our clients care about the same things we care about: profitability, no hassles, more free time, notoriety, etc. The best way to build know, like, and trust feelings and show them we are the best, or most secure, or friendliest is by using the most powerful tool in the sales toolbox: the testimonial.

When you say something about yourself, it is bragging. When others say something about you, it is proof. Those of you who have attended Shred School know that I could talk a whole day about testimonials and the best way to go about getting them. There is no doubt in my mind that the testimonial is the most powerful tool in the sales toolbox. It is more effective than your brochure, your shredder, and your salesperson combined. It is also the single most wasted resource in creating a marketing message. Not nearly as many secure destruction companies use them the way they should.

Testimonials can sell when salespeople cannot. For example, are you going to believe your neighbor who just purchased an automobile like the one you want, or the car salesperson? Do not just get testimonials, though. Get the right type of testimonials. The following are some suggestions on what testimonials should say:

  • Testimonials should show action and have a call to action. “I used to use ABC Shredding; I switched to Ray & Bob’s Destruction, so should you too.”
  • Testimonials should overcome objections or remove the barriers to a potential sale. “I thought their price was too high initially but I bought it anyway, and I am sure glad that I did.”
  • Testimonials should reinforce a claim. “I earned more profit by utilizing them.”

Testimonials remove the risk of saying yes in the prospect’s mind. By asking a customer to tell you his/her reasons for purchasing from you also get several more clients just like them. Remember, why brag when you can provide proof? The company with the best testimonials wins. Period.

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Thursday August 7, 2014

Creating a barrier to entry into your market

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

In my most recent SDB magazine column, I ruminate on the low barrier to entry in the secure destruction industry. I encourage you to read it if you haven’t.

First, as I stated in the aforementioned SDB column, established service providers should see barriers to entry as a good thing. Low cost of entry kills margins. In general, there are three types of market entry barriers. One is dependent on qualifications, where you need some combination of education, certifications, degrees, licenses, etc. Doctors and lawyers, among many others, fall into this category. The second is capital investment, where the amount of money needed to get into the business limits competition. The third is branding or name recognition, which is more about working harder and smarter than about investing money.

In our industry, branding is the most available barrier to competition followed by a heavy dose of qualifications. In fact, branding and qualifications go hand in hand and, together, can be formidable. Things like NAID certification, proper indemnification, being an ASIS board member, and speaking at a local ARMA seminar fall under the category of “qualifications.” Knowing how to effectively position them and knowing how to relate the value of each qualification is branding.

Don’t shoot the messenger but I am here to tell you this is it. The cost of entry to our industry is low and that is not going to change. Branding and qualifications are all you have to differentiate your firm from the others. And, it is not just one or the other; it is both. Having qualifications without the ability to position their value is better than nothing but falls far short of the alternative.

The good news is that it seems many of your competitors are more than willing to let you pursue this strategy. They seem willing to leave your market wide open for you to become “that service provider.” The question is only whether you will fill that vacancy or leave it for another to fill.

 

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Thursday July 31, 2014

Top questions to ask in the decision-making process

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

One of the most challenging things in developing new business is identifying the stage of buying in which your prospect is and aligning that with your sales process. If you looked at the last 10 opportunities that you lost, I bet you lost them for failing to truly understand how their decision-making process works and how to help them.

In the 15 years I have been in the secure destruction industry, I have noticed a major change in the prospect’s decision-making process. The information management and destruction decision is now made in the boardroom, not the breakroom. It is now a C suite and consensus-based decision with multiple stakeholders who have different agendas and motives. This can create a complex landscape for salespeople navigating the buying process.

Just like anything, there is no magic wand or silver bullet to know exactly how a decision will be made, but here are some of the top questions you can ask to at least get a better understanding of the prospective client’s process:

  • Who, including yourself, is involved in making this decision?
  • How will the final decision be made? Then what? Ask this a few times to get a clear understanding of it.
  • Who in your organization is responsible for corporate compliance (e.g., HIPAA, FACTA, Red Flag Rule, state shred laws)? Who is responsible for profitability and corporate security? (Hint: it is usually the person at the top of the decision-making chain.)
  • Who in your organization is responsible for legally required, written information protection policies and procedures? How about required employee training?
  • May I ask what your decision-making process is concerning professional services such as outsourced destruction of sensitive material?
  • When we present our customized proposal to your team, will you be the one approving the agreement?
  • Where do we go from here? When should we speak again?
  • Is there anything preventing your organization from moving forward with us?
  • When you speak with the others on your decision-making team, will you suggest moving forward with us?

Learn how to put these techniques and others into practice at Shred School. Good luck, shred heads!

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Friday July 18, 2014

What data destruction firms can learn from Apple

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Recently, I read an article about how sales is changing in many ways. I could not help but draw comparisons to NAID members who are taking the same approach with great success.

In the past, businesses responded to customers’ needs or problems. The key to success was finding the pain and providing a solution. Of course, that is still largely the case for the majority of businesses, including most service providers in the data destruction arena. However, the most profitable organizations showed a different way to approach product and service development. Instead of providing a solution to an existing customer problem, companies like Google, Amazon and Apple found success in inventing products customers had not envisioned and then demonstrated how it made consumers’ lives better. In that model, sales is less about touting the advantages of one product and service over those of a competitor, but showing how it makes their lives easier and helping them learn how to use it. This new sales technique has spread fast to other industries, including automobile manufacturers, household goods, and, yes, even data destruction.

While I recognize the hubris of including NAID in the same category as Apple, Amazon and Google, in reading the article I could not help but think about our Customer Employee Training Program, the Compliance Toolkit, and Downstream Data Coverage. These programs all provide something that clients do not yet recognize as something they need. Customers and prospects probably think all professional liability coverage is the same or, worse, do not understand its importance at all. Customers and prospects may or may not know that regulations require they train their employees on proper data disposal, but they almost certainly do not think about their destruction contractor has an easy way for them to comply.

When a service provider can educate a prospect on how the programs benefit them and how easy they are to put in place, those prospects respond. This is not conjecture, it is a fact. Scores of NAID members prove that month in and month out. They are using this new sales model of providing a new product the customer had not envisioned.

Is it easier to just try to fill the needs customers already recognize? Not really. In that approach, there is no difference between service providers except price. It is easier insofar that it does not require the service provider to become educated. It is easier insofar as the service provider does not have to integrate an educational approach into its sales and marketing. But, it makes hanging on to and obtaining new profitable business much harder.

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Thursday July 3, 2014

What is your follow-up strategy?

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

In previous NAIDnotes posts, I have discussed how important it is to stand apart from the crowd of “shred-a-likes” in order to not blend in with your competitors. Unfortunately, an area that I see many sales professionals and owners blending in with their competition is the post-call follow up, also known as the “post-game strategy.”

One of the biggest mistakes that are made by sales professionals in this area is when they follow up with a prospect; they have nothing creative or of real value to share with him or her. It’s basically just a waste of time for both the sales professional and prospect.

Here are some examples of how the wrong way a stereotypical salesperson follows up:

  • “Hey, Mrs. Prospect this is Dufus. I’m just calling to follow up.” (Wow, that’s real creative!)
  • “Hello, I’m just calling to touch base.” (What game are we playing? Baseball? More like hide and go seek!)
  • “I’m just calling to see if you have any questions about our service.” (This is not as bad as the other two but too similar to everyone else’s.)

The key to following up with your prospects is to be different, smart and creative. You also have to have something of value to share with them. Ask yourself, Is this call worth the prospect’s time? The main goal of the follow-up call is to re-ignite the sale. Are you accomplishing that goal? Keep in mind, it’s also important to make sure that you never send a proposal to someone without making a firm commitment for a follow-up appointment.

Here are some helpful hints for a more successful follow-up strategy:

  • Be creative
  • Create and provide them something of value
  • Gain their interest
  • It’s not about you. It’s about them!
  • Do something different than the Shred-A-Like Co.
  • Provide them with new ideas to grow their business
  • Send them something they have a personal interest in (like a certain book about their favorite topic, sports team, musician, etc.)
  • Send a handwritten thank you card or some sort of unique follow-up card
  • Call them to “continue the previous conversation you had” not to “touch base”
  • Use LinkedIn to stay connected
  • Add them to your monthly newsletter list

Following up is not about having a selling environment. It’s about creating a buying environment. Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Be attentive, be creative, and surprise them with useful information in order to build a long-lasting relationship, not just a customer.

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Thursday June 12, 2014

Zero tolerance on data breaches is inevitable

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

I’ve been a bit preoccupied with the early signs of the consequences of data breaches entering a new era. As I have written, when (not if) those distant smoke signals become an accepted reality, data breaches will no longer be survivable. Though statistics show some organizations that have data breaches don’t survive, the emerging case law related to class actions by victims of such breaches will ultimately make them a virtual death sentence for all organizations.

This is especially scary if one buys into the argument that there is no defense from such breaches. As the thinking goes, due to the combination of careless employees and contractors and ingenious hackers, data breaches are unavoidable. How will any organization survive in a world where data breaches are both unpreventable and fatal?

While it is a scary thought, it just might also provide the key to the solution. There are many business sectors where the consequences of certain failures would be similarly fatal. Air travel, for instance, is one of the safest ways to travel because it has to be. If it weren’t, there would be no airline industry. As a result, commercial airline accidents are incredibly rare. Banks can’t randomly lose or misplace our money and stay in business. Doctors can’t ineptly kill patients and keep practicing.

I do not accept that data breaches are simply a reality of our times. The stakes are quickly rising to the point where they cannot be tolerated economically. By paying appropriate attention to employee training, vendor selection and monitoring, IT security systems, standards, and accreditation, an organization can meet the challenge, especially when the pain gets bad enough. It’ll be like data Darwinism; organizations that do not protect data will become extinct, and those that do protect it, will be left alive to prosper.

 

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Thursday June 5, 2014

Get out of that slump

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

The summer has arrived here in beautiful South Carolina and it’s time for baseball! If I am not teaching companies how to grow their business or destroying stuff, you can usually find me watching my son on a baseball field. When I look at the great sport of baseball, so much of it can relate to world of sales and marketing. One great example of this is when a baseball player is in a hitting slump. How they get in and out of that slump is similar to how a sales professional gets in and out of a slump.

When baseball players get into slumps, it's because they either developed a mechanical flaw in their swing or their work ethic is lacking. They start pressing to get a hit and they tense up, which is transparent to a pitcher. Most salespeople who get into slumps are there because of something they did (mechanical flaw) and they are not working hard enough to get out of it. They start pressing for the sale. They get tense in the sales process and it becomes transparent to the prospect. Sound familiar? Here are some causes of a sales slump:

  • Below average work ethic
  • Outside pressure (money problems, personal issues, etc.)
  • No step-by-step sales process or repeatable system
  • Poor personal habits (bad physical and mental shape)
  • Lack of training and guidance
  • Loss of a big client or prospect
  • Selling too much on price
  • Getting depressed from the above reasons

What does a baseball player do to get out of a slump?They get extra coaching, training and, most of all, practice. They go back to the fundamentals. They also revisit their past positive experiences. They break down their swings by watching video – anything to change his luck. How can sales professionals break out of slumps?

  • Are you coachable? If not, good luck getting out of the slump.
  • Study the basics. List two or three areas that need immediate attention.
  • Revisit your game plan for success.
  • Are your goals written down where you can see them every day?
  • List five things you could be doing to work smarter and harder.
  • Stop presenting and start connecting.
  • Talk to your five best clients. Get your mojo back!
  • Get a sales coach ASAP.
  • Record your sales calls and presentations. Do more role-playing.
  • Get trained and re-trained.
  • Hang around only positive people.
  • Avoid negative people. They suck!
  • Get to work earlier.
  • Take the best salesperson you know out on meetings with you.
  • Go to Shred School.
  • Have some fun!

The good thing about a slump is that it is usually temporary. Just like a ball player, you have the ability to get out of a slump. They, like you, can go back to raw fundamentals to regain lost talent. Keep the slump in perspective and accept the fact that you have the power to change it. Now let’s get some hits!

 

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Thursday May 29, 2014

Why the case against Target may go to the Supreme Court

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Within weeks of the massive Target data breach last December, privacy and legal pundits began speculating about class action lawsuits that would result. So far, most of those predictions have come to pass. 

  • Lawmakers made a lot of noise but nothing meaningful developed – at least so far. 
  • Hundreds of class action suits were filed across the country. 
  • As predicted, these separate lawsuits were combined into one case.

The only prediction that is left to be resolved is that the case will be summarily dismissed before it gets to court. Some experts believe dismissing the case will likely be for the same reason that similar cases in the past have been dismissed: the plaintiffs have no standing with the court because they cannot demonstrate actual damages as a direct result of the event. The actual damages precedent stems from Clapper vs. Amnesty International, a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2012 wherein plaintiffs argued that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) should be struck down under the basis that it posed a future harm. The Supreme Court overturned an earlier ruling by the FISA, stating the following:

  • Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the future injury they purportedly feared was certainly impending.
  • Plaintiffs failed to establish the future injury they purportedly feared was fairly traceable to the FISA provision at issue.
  • Costs plaintiffs incurred to avoid surveillance were not fairly traceable to the FISA provision at issue.

As I said earlier, and as the experts point out, with Clapper as their guide, courts across the country have been summarily dismissing data breach class action suits before they get to court. This precedent is the reason that experts predicted a similar fate for the Target lawsuit.

Then, things changed.

In March, a federal district appeals court in Florida overturned two previous dismissals of a data breach class action suit against health care insurer AvMed. AvMed allowed unauthorized access to 1.2 million personal records. In overturning the prior court rulings, both based upon the Clapper precedent, the appeals court determined that insurance premiums to AvMed were paid with an expectation that the firm was taking sufficient measures to protect their data. The court said AvMed had “unfairly enriched” itself at the expense of the plaintiffs when it did not take the precautions necessary to protect the data, thus giving the plaintiffs the necessary standing. Upon learning the case would proceed to court, AvMed sought a settlement, which was approved at $3 million on March 18.

This ruling seriously challenged the get-out-of-jail-free card that Clapper had been providing data breach lawsuits up to this time. After all, when is personal information ever exchanged with an institution wherein the individual is not, in part, paying for the expectation that the recipient organization is adequately protecting their personal information? If I’m a class action lawyer going after Target, I am suddenly feeling a little more confident about my clients’ case.

The day after the AvMed announcement, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge approved a $4.1 million settlement by Stanford Hospital and Clinics to approximately 20,000 plaintiffs. This settlement stemmed from the improper posting of emergency room visit details to the organization’s website. Other than the loss of the expectation of privacy, no actual damages were proven.

Despite the predictions that the Target class action data breach suits will suffer a quick death, I am not convinced. Obviously, the public feels the violation of privacy and increasing risk of identity theft is worthy of compensation. Why else would firms settle so quickly once their cases are allowed to proceed? They realize the jury would be much harder on them.

The AvMed ruling changed the conversation. If part of what I am buying when I do business with someone is the expectation they will protect the data I share with them, they “unfairly enrich” themselves when they avoid the expense of meeting that obligation. The “actual damages” are that I have been defrauded.

So, while the fate of the Target class action data breach case is unknown, there are some things we can predict:

  • The plaintiffs will put a strong and persistent battle. The AvMed case was overturned after two lower courts tossed it out. With the AvMed and Stanford cases now in hand, and with so much more at stake, the Target case will go as high as it is allowed to go – all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
  • We also know that Target is fighting for its life. Its future is already in jeopardy and if the suit turns against them, it is that much bleaker.
  • The conversation has changed or at least it is changing. It is no longer about demonstrating damages, it is about whether companies are defrauding customers by not providing the security they paid for and expect in the business transaction.

Frankly, I would like to see the Supreme Court hear this case. Legislators and regulators have not effectively confronted the problem. A strong new precedent that recognizes the obligation to protect personal information may raise the stakes high enough that meaningful data protection will result. The consequences of data breaches are nearing the point where they can no longer be tolerated. Data breaches can still be largely attributed to lax or inept data protection practices. Obviously, the pain has not been high enough to prevent those practices from changing.

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Thursday May 22, 2014

Reconciling the conventional approach to ITAD reconciliation

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

In the upcoming edition of ITAK, the professional journal of the International Association of IT Asset Managers (IAITAM), I wrote an article with Kyle Marks (Retire-IT) about a series of recent events that have demonstrated the hazards of traditional IT asset disposal (ITAD) reconciliations, which have exposed great opportunities for both IT asset management (ITAM) professionals and ITAD service providers.

The incident that started this discussion happened last January when Coca Cola notified regulators and affected employees that the individual responsible for recycling their IT assets – a company employee – had been routinely pilfering laptops. An investigation prompted by the discovery determined that one or more of the stolen laptops had the personal information of approximately 74,000 employees, constituting a data security breach notification.

The dirty little secret that prompted Kyle and I to put pen to paper, was that ITAD reconciliations often unearth missing IT assets that go uninvestigated and unreported, potentially creating hundreds or even thousands of data breach notification violation time bombs. With no statute of limitations on the failure to report a data breach, should any of those devices ever turn up in the future containing personal information, it would most likely be classified as a failure to comply with breach notification requirements. One thing we know for sure is failure to notify has much higher penalties than those that result from the breach itself.

If Coke started us thinking, it was the recent multimillion dollar settlements announced in April that forced our hand. For the first time in history, courts allowed class action data breach lawsuits to go to trial in the absence of demonstrated damages. Within days of the rulings, the respondents in the cases settled rather than let it go to a jury. That was smart. I think juries would have been much harder on them. The point is, with courts for the first time willing to allow these suits to proceed, not only can they no longer turn a blind eye to missing IT assets, they have to do whatever they can to prevent them from going missing in the first place.

Tune into NAIDnotes next week where I will explain why I think the class action law suit against Target for the data breach over the holidays will (and should) go to the Supreme Court.

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Thursday May 15, 2014

Seven things you need to do every day

By Ray Barry, NAID Deputy Executive Director

Whether you are a sales professional, business owner, or you wear many hats, your typical day is most likely hectic and full. It is easy for professionals to fall into the habit of spending time on menial tasks that do not generate revenue for the business.

In this day and age, professionals get distracted easily by unimportant emails, non-urgent phone calls, or spending too much time playing on social networking sites (notice I said “playing” on social networking sites, not implementing your social networking strategy). In this economic climate, it is important to work every day on key strategies that will have a direct impact on business and revenue growth.

I get asked a lot about time management strategies and where sales professionals should be investing their time each day. Here are seven daily must-dos for a sales professional or business owner:

  1. Read about positive attitude or something positive for at least 15 minutes a day.
  2. Each day read for at least 15 minutes about sales improvement or sales strategies.
  3. Prospect at least one or two hours every day (hopefully more). What’s your preferred method? I hope it’s not cold calling!
  4. Network every day (e.g., industry associations, referral groups, company board of directors, etc.)!
  5. Meet with at least two new prospects a day.
  6. Send at least one thank you card or some sort of “thanks” to your prospect, client, associate, strategic partner, etc.
  7. Plan ahead and review your goals daily.

BONUS: Speak with at least one client every day. Cultivate the relationship to generate referrals.

We all have the same amount of available time, 24 hours in a day. The most successful people do a better job of investing, not wasting, their time in impactful activities.

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Thursday May 8, 2014

Providing compliance to clients is the key to getting new ones

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

I was recently reminded of one of my favorite Peter Drucker quotes, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It’s a great way of expressing the idea that all the strategic planning in the world is of no value to an organization if its corporate culture doesn’t support it.

The secure destruction industry, both electronic and hard copy, does a lot of talking, writing, and strategizing related to security and compliance. Unfortunately, too often, the positioning of those efforts is not reflected in their company’s DNA. In fact, a stranger looking at our industry from an operational perspective by examining where management focuses its efforts, would see cultures that reflect the importance of efficiency and recycling (or byproduct revenue). Sure, there are exceptions, but as a rule, secure destruction operations do not seem use their or the client’s compliance and security as the focal point of their culture.

First, efficiency and byproduct revenue are very important and worthy of attention, in fact, they are critical. We miss the boat when we make them the centerpiece of the corporate culture. It makes no sense to build a strategy based on being customers’ security and compliance partners if the corporate culture is not aligned properly.

A small but significant percentage of NAID members are experiencing great success by using a combination of the Compliance Toolkit, the Customer Employee Training Program and Downstream Data Coverage. The question then becomes: If some members are experience this success, what’s stopping the majority of members from doing the same thing? This brings me back to Drucker’s observation on the role of culture. Where the culture stresses efficiency and byproduct revenue, honing the knowledge or investing in the skills necessary to become a value-added compliance partner does not align. The “culture eats the strategy for breakfast.”

In speaking with members who have experienced success using NAID compliance tools, they all share one thing in common: they use these tools to help their existing customers before they try to use them to develop new business. In doing so, they solidify those relationships and get valuable practice in a low-risk settings, practice that gives them the confidence to attract opportunities with prospective customers. Let’s face it, if the sales representative lacks confidence in his/her ability to use these tool or talk the language of compliance, he/she will not attract such opportunities and might avoid them. It’s just human nature.

Using these tools with existing clients also leads to the company to new opportunities through testimonials and referrals. And, most important of all, the company now has a professional responsibility to the client. If the Customer Employee Training Program makes them bulletproof to the maximum consequences of a breach, how can a service provider justify not making it available to customers? It is a real value with tangible benefits and it required by law. It is trite to say that customers are the biggest asset of your business, but it is not just because they pay the bills. They are the single biggest conduit to new business. Using NAID’s compliance tools is one of the best ways to turn on that faucet.

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Thursday April 24, 2014

A difference in focus: Shred School versus the annual conference

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Over the last few months, several members inquired whether it would be better to attend the annual conference or Shred School. In my experience, for every person that asks there are 10 more with the same question. So, even though the annual conference is now over, I would like to offer my perspective on the difference between the two.

The annual conference is a grand affair on a grand scale, with hundreds of attendees, lots of networking, a massive exhibit hall and a thrilling inspirational keynote speaker. For three days, it becomes the center of the secure destruction industry universe, with the highest concentration of industry knowledge and innovation in one place. Frankly, I don’t see how anyone who leads a secure destruction business justifies missing this event. The annual conference is an international summit meeting for anyone who is or wants to be a leader of their organization’s operations or sales. One idea, one new contact, and/or one new vendor innovation is worth 10 times the cost of attending. 

Shred School, on the other hand, is far more intimate and more focused. Instead of 700 people, there are a few dozen. Instead of 70 presenters and panelists, there are four or five experts speaking about topics critical to every employee of a secure destruction operation. Connecting with the sponsors at Shred School is also a much different experience than a trade show. Spending two days with these industry leaders and sponsors in such a direct and intimate way, creates lasting relationships that will pay benefits over the years.

Shred School is democratic. It is a traveling workshop that comes to the member, making it inexpensive and convenient enough to send more employees. There is no such thing as an over-trained employee, and the secure destruction industry suffers more than most in that regard. Not many members send a large number of staff to the annual conference, nor do I think they should. On the other hand, I find it difficult to understand how any service provider could allow a Shred School to pass through their region without sending a large number of their staff members.

Luckily, most members seem to understand this and the annual conference and Shred School are both strong as a result. That’s great news for me since I get to spend time with members at both.

 

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Thursday April 17, 2014

Service provider qualifications bolster your marketing efforts

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

There’s no shortage of marketing gurus with innovative ways of warming up the prospect so you can get a meeting. But, I caution readers not to put too much hope in this as the silver bullet. It certainly isn’t.

Allow me to elaborate.

The way it supposed to work is that the prospective decision maker gets one or a series of cards, messages, gifts, or other items, even, over time, set up a micro-campaign to get their attention and have them think favorably of you.

Let’s say you or someone you hiring comes up with such a campaign and it works. What’s next? Well, first of all, you’d better have the goods. You have their attention, but when you finally get in front of them, you need to have the service provider qualifications necessary and be able to discuss them intelligently. You invested a lot into warming them up, now you have to dance and you better know how. You are fooling yourself if you think a warm contact will risk their job by not talking to a competitor. So, by all means, get those meetings, but that is the easy part. The hard part is delivering once you have their attention, and then keeping the account in the long term.

Further, when dealing with a mass market, which is where secure destruction is in the U.S. (and only in the U.S. by the way), attraction marketing is the only way to efficiently acquire that business. Remember, we are talking about 5,000 to 20,000 potential accounts. You can’t send them all a cupcake or a Valentine’s Day card. 

Your website may well be the most important tool, and attention on having the right back of the house and front of the house mechanics should be a high priority. On the other hand, effective truck signage, electronic newsletters, driver intelligence, market profile development, and intense networking.

Spending time and money on gimmicks that get the attention of a particular contact is fine for what it is, but it is useless unless your firm has the proper qualifications and a salesperson who can discuss data destruction like an expert.

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Thursday March 27, 2014

What is this 5S?

By Mitzi Ott, Recall

So simple, sure seems suspicious … No, not those five S’s.

Today, in a world of instantaneous marketing brought to business operators via their inbox and social media sites, it almost seems like everything that seems too good to be true, really is. Take heart. This is the real deal. 5S is a Lean Six Sigma concept which, by current standards, is relatively simple and does not always involve a large investment. It takes little more than discipline and consistency.

If your organization is like a lot out there, you are just doing what you can each day to be the best you can be at what you do. Guess what, if that describes you, you’ve already got the foundation in place for 5S. Imagine five actions your teams could adopt, no matter what function is being performed, and not only improve productivity and efficiency, but could reduce operating costs and drive a more organized, lean culture. By following these five steps, you could transform your business, and take the first step on your company’s lean adventure.

But, be advised. It takes a committed leader to ensure success. Join me April 5 at 11 a.m. at NAID 2014 to get started!

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Tuesday March 25, 2014

Six SEO tips for the paper shredding industry

By Drew Dekker, NetGain Vice President

These days, getting found online is one of the most important factors for the success of any business, and that goes for shredding companies as well. Just a few short years ago, direct mail and newspaper advertising was the best way to drive leads but the times have changed. Now the most successful businesses, big and small, have a number of platforms from which they can advertise and sell their products or services. The largest platform, without a doubt, is online marketing. 

Over the last 10 years, the Internet has changed dramatically. It went from simply having a website for the sake of having one, to being the main hub that drives the majority of sales. The other change I have witnessed is the huge increase in mobile device traffic. Nearly everyone has a smartphone and 2014 is the year where mobile Web traffic will surpass desktop computer Web traffic.

It’s not just about having a website - it’s about having a website that gets found. 

So what does all of this mean for you? It is extremely important that you, or your marketing team, put together a strategy that will find you leads and take advantage of the limitless potential online. Having a shiny new website is really only half the battle. After all, your business could have the most incredible website in the world but if no one knows how to find it, it’s essentially useless.  

SEO Tips for Shredding Companies

  1. Submit your website to Google – Once your website is complete, you need to submit it to Google and the other search engines. Otherwise it will take a long time for it to be found – sometimes months. Submitting your website is a signal telling Google to work its magic and start to index your website in their search queries. The best place to get started is here: https://www.google.com/submityourcontent/.
  2. Submit your website to Google+ Business and Google Places – This is another signal Google uses to help get your business found online. The majority of businesses rank higher if they take the time to submit to Google+ Business and Google Places (especially in mobile device searches) because it shows your location in a handy map. You may have to create a personal Google+ page before you can add your business but it is well worth the time. Visit these links to learn more: http://www.google.com/+/business/ and https://www.google.ca/business/placesforbusiness/.
  3. Blog regularly and add fresh content – Blogging regularly is an incredible way to tell the search engines you are a serious player in your market. It’s worth noting that you need to blog about something related to your business. Write about the products and services you provide and why your company is the best. This is key to the success of your online marketing strategy.
  4. Use social media – Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn are extremely important factors when it comes to getting found online so be sure to create a business page for each. Google uses the likes, tweets, shares and pins from these sites as a signal that people really like your business. You need to maintain your social media account and constantly submit content. Social media isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of tool. Create a reason for people to share your business with their friends and family and update them often.
  5. Testimonials and online reviews – These can act as powerful tools to market your shredding business and not only are they influential, they are free. Before you make a new purchase or require service from a company you are unfamiliar with, chances are you’ll do some online research first. Your potential customers are doing the same thing. Be sure to share testimonials from happy clients on your website so they are clearly displayed to your visitors. In the same sense, always reply to online reviews about your company, whether they are positive or negative. This is proof to prospective customers that you care to acknowledge all comments made. People will read these, so be sure reviews are not left unanswered.
  6. Put in as much time as possible – As mentioned throughout this post, you have to put time into creating your online presence. This means filling out all of the details possible for your Google, Facebook and other social media accounts. This also means constantly blogging, and updating your accounts as well. It is a constant work in progress, but one that is worth the effort in the end. The more active you are online, the greater the return you will receive.

If you’d like to learn more about SEO services for your business, I will be speaking about cost effective strategies for SEO and prospect conversion in greater detail April 5 at this year’s NAID 2014 Annual Conference.

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Tuesday March 18, 2014

A game changer that has been years in the making

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

My first reaction was, “WOW!” My second reaction was, “It’s about time.” My third reaction was, “This is going to change everything.”

I am talking about the news that a judge in Florida just awarded $3 million to plaintiffs in a class action suit stemming from a data breach after a laptop containing confidential patient information was stolen. Keep in mind, lawsuits stemming from data breaches are not new. I remember hearing about them as far back as the mid-1990s. Those lawsuits were universally dismissed because plaintiffs failed to show damages until now.

Of course, those of us calling for justice and stronger penalties for privacy violations decried these dismissals. We pointed to the fact that the “damage” was caused when the individual was put at risk, not, as the courts had ruled, when they could prove financial loss. We argued that a requirement to prove financial loss tied directly to a specific data breach was a threshold that could never be met. In fact, the Florida case had been dismissed twice on those grounds prior to this ruling in the appeals court.

That is why today’s announcement is so earthshattering. It is the first time an award was made in the absence of direct damages. The court ruled that the breach itself constituted the necessary damages to be worthy of a $3 million award. Curiously, the settlement was approved by the district courts on Feb. 28, but was only recently made public.

Of course, we, students of secure data destruction, are not the only ones taking note. There is an army of class-action litigators paying close attention. To date, there was little motivation for them to pursue data breach cases. That changed with this announcement. Although we now only pay attention to the mega-breaches like Target’s, such breaches constantly happen across the country. There are thousands per year. With the Florida precedent established, each one of those thousands of cases will be attracting lawyers to represent victims. I suspect there are scores such law firms planning to specialize in this type of suit.

Ultimately, this means that the cost of a data breach just got exponentially more expensive. It means the cost is so high that data controllers will have to find a way to avoid them or be sued out of business. It also means that service provider liability will increase. Sorry, but we have to take the good with the bad. The importance of service provider qualifications, regulatory compliance, written policies, employee training, contract language and indemnification just ratcheted up another notch or two. Personally, I think this is great news for reputable service providers who are ready for the intensity this adds to the issue of data destruction and risky times for those who are not ready.

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Thursday March 13, 2014

How to position yourself to access the C-Suite

By Tom Adams, Coach and Adviser

It’s an important goal for almost every salesperson: get access to senior executives in prospective client companies — the C-Level decision makers who approve deals. While they are not always involved in the actual purchase of services, it is clear they have enormous sway over which providers get an opportunity to sell and which are ultimately retained by their organizations. You intuitively know the importance of obtaining an audience with these people but I suspect you might be frustrated by your attempts to reach them.

It may surprise you that leaders at the highest levels don’t dislike or even avoid sales pitches. In fact, they often welcome them if they are approached in the right way by a salesperson. But if you try to access and sell to the C-Suite in the same way you sell to non-executives, it will most likely backfire on you. Perseverance, your well-practiced pitch, and a good attitude will not be enough to overcome a wrong approach.

If you want to have a seat at the table, there are strategic ways to think and act that give you a fighting chance. You want to be an invited guest, not an unwelcomed pest. You want to be a trusted advisor to executives, not a show-up-and-throw-up talking sales brochure.

Please join me at the NAID conference on Sunday, April 6, at 8 a.m. to learn some effective ways to gain access to the C-Suite. My goal for this session is to give you new ways to think about positioning yourself as well as some specific action items to gain access to executive prospects. 

 

 

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Thursday March 6, 2014

Firing customers: The theory of next

By Joe Harford, Reclamere founder

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. We’re going to have a conversation about firing customers, a concept that many of you are probably not only unfamiliar with, but you are most likely very uncomfortable with as well. However, at Reclamere, we have found that “The Theory of Next”, as we like to call it, has opened the door to larger profits, something that I know all of you are interested in.

“The Theory of Next” is not a complex concept; it simply means that not every customer is going to be a good fit for your business. It is important that, while our natural inclination is to focus on profits and bottom lines, we understand clearly how spending time with a customer that isn’t a good fit can have an unintended impact on profitability. At Reclamere, this meant identifying and focusing only on customers that saw the value in our level of professionalism and our security qualifications so that we could focus primarily on those.

When I first founded Reclamere, I would never have thought of firing any customer – I was afraid that I would never make enough money and would go bankrupt. The secret is that you must have focused leadership, courage, good data, and the willingness to make mistakes. I am not advocating that anyone should take the idea of firing a customer lightly, but rather this should be approached in a thoughtful and planned manner.

I’ll discuss the concept in greater depth at my NAID 2014 Annual Conference session April 5 at 10 a.m.

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Thursday February 27, 2014

Is the prospect’s apathy toward security their fault?

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

It’s the universal lament of the secure data destruction vendor heard from New Hampshire to Hong Kong: “The customer only cares about price!”

But is that their fault or ours? After all, it’s not their job to know about data protection regulations, breach notification, vendor qualifications or the consequences of choosing an unsecure option any more than you’d be expected to know the intricacies of their industry. All the customer knows is he/she needs to get rid of something.

If you can’t give them a compelling reason for thinking of it as anything but a simple, bottom-line decision, whose fault is it? In fact, if you’re selling me a pair of shoes that cost twice as much as another pair and you can’t give me a compelling reason to spend more, it would actually be foolish for me to pay your price.

In one of my conference sessions, I will provide a range of strategies for getting prospects to place more importance on security. Whether it’s the assistant calling to get three prices for his boss, to the seasoned buyer who sees security as a hallow concern, attendees at this session will leave with a plan of action. No, I am not promising a silver bullet, because there is none. But, I am promising that you will leave this session knowing you can do more than just complain so you are confident in your understanding of the value your service represents.

“Tools and Tactics to Increase Data Security Awareness” will be held from 2:30 to 3:20 p.m. Saturday, April 5. Click here for complete details on the NAID 2014 Annual Conference and to register. A 10 percent registration discount will apply until March 3.

 

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Thursday February 20, 2014

How to secure your systems against cyber threats

By Angie Singer Keating, Reclamere CEO

You most likely already have a firewall and security software to protect your network. Thus, your systems should be well protected from any unattended probes and intrusions from viruses and other malware. However, data thieves can thwart these efforts by using the following, manual means to steal your confidential business information.

Email Alerts: Don't worry about opening suspicious emails. In most cases, all you lose is the time it takes to verify that a message is legitimate. What you have to worry about is the message inside asking you to click on a link or download an attachment. The link or attachment may contain the malicious software. Or they may lead you to a fake website that looks like it belongs to the company that sent the message. It asks you to enter your usercode and password, which the thieves then use to access your account. Never click a link in an email, even if it's from someone you know, because the originating addresses can be faked. Instead, note the contents of the message and then delete it.

Phony Updates: If you've turned on automatic updating in your operating system, you may receive several messages asking you to update software. While many of these missives are legitimate, it only takes a fraudulent one to unleash harmful code on your system. All you need do is click one of the buttons on the message and the trouble starts. Close such messages right away without clicking on anything.

Phishing: This refers to phony websites that look like exact copies of legitimate ones. An email or update message may lead you the site, which then prompts you for your usercode or password. A big clue that the site is fraudulent is the URL in the address bar. It may not match the company website at all. In that case, close your browser immediately.

You can rely on one solution to thwart all these attempts. Manually browse to the originating website to determine if an update or change is truly needed. If the site did not originate the message, then report the fraudulent attempt to the website's security department.

For more information on securing your systems against small business cyber threats, be sure to attend my session, "Protecting Your Company From Growing Connectivity Exposures" at the NAID conference on Friday, April 4.

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Thursday February 13, 2014

Likeability equals success

Ray Barry, Chief Shreducation and Member Relations Officer

“The main work of a trial attorney is to make the jury like his or her client.” – Robert Cialdini, “Influence”

We are all aware that our prospects and clients want to do business with sales professionals and organizations they know, like, and trust. Building the “know” and “trust” has everything to do with building your brand, content marketing, positioning your company as security experts, and the consultative selling method. However, building your likeability is usually not as cut and dry and can be more difficult.

Keep in mind, all things being equal in the sales process, people will want to do business with their friends. So how do you increase your likeability? What are some things you can do to be perceived as more likeable in the sales and marketing processes? What are the factors that cause one person to like another and create a positive reaction? In this case, what are some of the reasons prospects say yes?

Here are some of the main factors to likeability:

  • Attractiveness:How attractive is your image? Making yourself as attractive as possible can generate perceived qualities such as talent, kindness, honesty and intelligence. Yet another reason to stay physically and mentally fit.
  • Similarity:We like people who are similar to us. Can you find commonalities with other people?
  • Compliments:We have positive reactions to positive comments about us.
  • Contact and cooperation: We like things and people that are familiar to us. How familiar are you to your prospects?
  • Communication: We like people that do what they say they are going to do and stand by it. We like people who communicate well. There is a reason that Ronald Reagan is one of the most well-liked presidents ever.

Great news, in this blog I have only scratched the surface on what makes the most successful companies and sales professionals likeable. At the NAID 2014 Annual Conference April 5 at 11 a.m., we will discuss this concept in much greater detail, show examples of companies that utilize these strategies, and show you how to employ these strategies to make your business more successful. See you then, unless you don’t like me, of course!

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Thursday January 30, 2014

Getting mentally fit

By Ray Barry, NAID Chief Shreducation and Member Relations Officer

As we begin a New Year, all of us look at the previous year and think of what we can do better in the new one. Everyone usually has a list of resolutions they start in January and unfortunately may be gone by February. The most popular resolution is to get physically fit and that’s why all of the gyms are packed on Jan. 2. However, some of the people I saw in the gym the first week of January are already MIA.

While I totally agree that any goal of becoming physically fit is a very important goal for any business professional’s health, it is also very important that we make a resolution to become more mentally fit this year too. As we become more physically fit, we must put in the hard work, commitment, and determination to continue it, sometimes even when our body really doesn’t feel like it. Being more mentally fit requires the same dedication, commitment, and hard work to become better at what we do in our business.

As we become physically and mentally healthier, our business and sales become healthier as well. Here are some ideas to become more mentally fit this year:

  • Set a goal to read one business or sales book per quarter.
  • Attend a training workshop to help you in your position or business. I suggest Shred School and the NAID conference.
  • Get a sales or business coach, similar to a personal trainer helping you get physically fit.
  • Become a CSDS. Remember, knowledge is power and learning new things keeps the brain fit.
  • Network your butt off!
  • Spend at least 15 minutes a day reading self-improvement or business improvement tips.
  • Start and write a blog post.
  • Speak publicly and become a perceived expert at what you do.
  • Spend 30 minutes a day laughing at something. It keeps the mind sharp and laughing is conducive to learning. I recommend “Seinfeld” or “Family Guy.”

I hope to see you and 700 other mentally fit industry professionals at the NAID 2014 Annual Conference soon!

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Thursday January 23, 2014

One NAID 2014 session could change your company’s future

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Among the many panel discussions at the NAID 2014 Annual Conference, the session “Circling the Wagons: How to Build and Manage Your Own Lead Generation Machine”represents a new approach to an old concept. And, it is the first time this subject has been covered at a NAID conference.

Think about the number of other businesses out there that are in a position to spot opportunities for your service. Now, think about the number of services you might have to spot opportunities for those businesses. The possibilities for mutual growth are endless. It could multiply your sales exponentially.

It’s certainly not a new concept and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the benefits. Even though most service providers have a couple of companies who they casually refer clients to, it is not the same thing as having a specific group of ambitious, motivated colleagues actually looking for opportunities to make referrals.

So, why aren’t more secure destruction companies creating these structured referral networks more effectively? Is everyone too busy? Is it for fear the other guys won’t deliver? Are there not enough professionals who find good leads? Is there anxiety about the possibly of creating another competitor?

In this panel discussion, secure destruction professionals who have overcome these obstacles will share the concepts that have provided them with a robust source of prequalified, warm leads where both trust and the value proposition are already established. Unlike many panel discussions, the goal is to give attendees a plan they can implement the day they get home from the conference.

I realize many readers are already exchanging leads with local colleagues. That is not what this session is about. It’s about implementing a formal system with likeminded professionals who realize they can grow a lot faster if they help you grow. What you learn in this session could be worth 10 times what you paid to attend the conference.

“Circling the Wagons: How to Build and Manage Your Own Lead Generation Machine”will be Saturday, April 5 at 11 a.m. Panelists already selected for this session are Tom Simpson and Scott Fasken. Other panelists are currently under consideration. Visit http://www.bitly.com/NAID2014for more details or to register.

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Thursday January 16, 2014

What is the NAID ‘em campaign all about?

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

It may seem like an unusual position to take at first, but the NAID ‘em campaign stems from the idea that NAID members and their customers are actually hurt by the simplistic connotation of the word “shredding.” To most customers, “shred” or “shredding” simply means putting something through a machine that slices it up. That was fine 25 years ago before most destruction was outsourced and regulatory requirements were developed. But it’s not fine now.

Today, proper data destruction includes written policies, employee training, chains of custody, transfer of fiduciary responsibility, vendor selection due diligence, contracts and indemnification. Shredding doesn’t include these processes and yet they are integral to proper destruction. If everything is tied to just the act of shredding, then owning the machine is the only requirement of the service provider, in other words, it is only a commodity that will go to the lowest bidder. NAID’s mission is to promote the proper destruction of confidential material. Proper destruction is more complicated than just reducing the size of the paper or other media.

Why the term “NAID ‘em”?

We want people to understand that proper data destruction involves more than just size reduction. Why not create a new phrase that encompasses what destruction is really about? That might just be creative and outrageous enough to make people think about it. And, if that makes sense, why not have that phrase be synonymous with the industry trade association that is dedicated to proper data destruction: NAID? For example, I need to “NAID” those confidential documents to ensure they don’t end up in the wrong hands. To make it easier to remember, that sentence can be reduced to “NAID them” or “NAID ‘em.” It’s logical, memorable and, it’s not common.

No one thinks “NAIDing” is really going to replace the word “shredding.” The campaign is merely seen as a creative way to make the point that there is more to proper data destruction than most people consider. It’s an outrageous and audacious way to make a point. On the other hand, no one thinks this is a short-term campaign either. It will take years for enough people to understand that shredding does not adequately represent the appropriate concept for regulatory compliance. Some already do, others will never understand; we just want as many people as possible.

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Thursday January 9, 2014

What are your goals for 2014?

By Ray Barry, Chief Shreducation and Member Relations Officer

By the time you read this, 2013 will be over. I don’t know about you but this year has flown by, which means it is time to welcome 2014 with a plan of where you want to go.

Whether you are a destruction business owner, sales professional or manager, you need a plan in order to make 2014 a great year. Just like when you take a road trip to a place you have never been, you have to map out your route so you stay on the right path to your destination. How do you know where you are going without a map? Hopefully, you wouldn’t get in the car and drive and not knowing anything about your destination. Business is no different. You have to have written goals to get you there, i.e., your personal roadmap to success. But some sales people do this all the time. They don’t map out their success route and then wonder why they are never the top sales person.

You have to take action. A decision without action is only a good intention and good intentions pave the road to nowhere. Constantly learning and setting goals are the surest ways to success. Your goals should be the following:

  • Realistic/attainable
  • Challenging
  • Measurable
  • All tied together
  • Synergy with personal goals
  • And, most important, written down where you see them every day

Other helpful hints for developing and accomplishing your goals include:

  • Have a positive attitude
  • Get a coach and be coachable
  • See it to achieve it
  • Review goals on a weekly basis at minimum
  • Set a goal to get better at what you do every day 

Only five percent of sales professionals have their goals written down where they can see them every day. These just happen to be the top five percent of all sales professionals. Coincidence? I don’t think so, my fellow shred heads. Post your goals and stay focused on your dreams and you will have a chance to make them a reality. I hope you accomplish all of your goals for 2014. Have a great year!

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